Direct Routing to Airwave infographic
Microsoft Partner of the Year 2024 award winner logo

Over the past year, Symity have been working with a number of UK Forces to help with a common problem, connecting their Microsoft Teams Phone to the Airwave Terminal for first responders. It’s with great pride to announce that we have achieved this and would like to highlight that this is now available to all UK forces wishing to do the same.

The team at Symity worked extremely hard to achieve the solution and are ready to help across the UK.

What is the Airwave Terminal?

The UK police force Airwave System is a secure private mobile radio communications network used by various organisations involved in public safety in Great Britain. It was commissioned by the Home Office in 2000 under a private finance initiative and uses digital terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) technology. The Airwave network stands out as a significant advancement in police radio systems in the UK, adopted by the majority of UK police forces, as well as other emergency services such as fire and ambulance services.

Currently, there is no alternative method for the police, fire, and emergency services staff to communicate securely with each other when in the field. The network enables fast, safe, and secure voice, video, and data communication, allowing first responders immediate access to life-saving data, images, and information in live situations and emergencies on the frontline.

The Emergency Services Network (ESN) is a cross-government program led by the Home Office to deliver a new critical communications system that will replace the current Airwave service. The ESN will transform how emergency services operate, providing a modern voice and data platform to improve front-line operations and enable emergency services to work more closely together for data sharing in emergencies.

What is Microsoft Teams Phone?

Microsoft Teams Phone is a feature within Microsoft Teams that provides call control and Private Branch Exchange (PBX) capabilities directly from the Microsoft 365 cloud. It allows users to make and receive calls, transfer calls, and mute or unmute calls using the Teams client on various devices.

Key aspects of Microsoft Teams Phone:

  • Basic Call Control: Users can make voice and video calls from Teams chats, the Calls app, or through the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
  • Advanced Call Control: Features like call merging, transferring, and voicemail transcription are available.
  • PSTN Connectivity: Teams Phone can connect to the PSTN, allowing users to make external calls. This can be done via a Microsoft Calling Plan or by connecting existing telephony infrastructure through Operator Connect or Direct Routing.
  • Licenses: To use Teams Phone features, organisations must have a Teams Phone license and users must be “voice enabled”.
  • Devices: Teams Phone works with Teams clients and certified devices, enabling calls on mobile devices, PCs, or IP phones.

It’s designed to be a flexible, intelligent, and secure calling solution that integrates seamlessly with Teams to enhance communication and collaboration within an organisation.

What’s more, if your organisation has a Microsoft E5 Licence, you will have access to Microsoft Teams Phone as part of this if it is not already installed.

How did Symity to do it?

Utilising Teams Direct Routing and a certified Session Border Controller we were able to connect Microsoft Teams Phone System to the Airwave Service.

With this solution Airwave terminals can call Microsoft Teams extensions and DDIs on-net. Microsoft Teams users can also dial Airwave terminals from the Calls tab. A custom dial plan in Teams allows users to dial unique prefix followed by the Airwave terminal extension number (usually the police officers badge number).

If you would like to find out more, get in touch with our team of experts and transform your first responders’ communications channels.


We won the 2024 Microsoft Global Partner of the Year award for Converged Communications with this project and are very excited and proud about this! Read the corresponding blog.

Chris Hayward

Principal Architect for Unified Communications